People v. Santiago


People v. Santiago

G.R. No. 228819

July 24, 2019


The RTC and CA convicted Jeffrey Santiago y Magtuloy for the crime of Robbery with Homicide. However, it appears that based on a letter dated June 13, 2017 from the Bureau of Corrections, Santiago had already died on October 11, 2016, as evidenced by the Notice issued by the New Bilibid Prison Hospital and Certificate of Death attached thereto. Notably, this means that Santiago had already passed away during the pendency of the criminal case against him, since the same was resolved by the Court only through the aforesaid Resolution dated September 4, 2017, which attained finality on December 6, 2017.


                Whether or not his criminal liability is extinguished.


                Yes. Under prevailing law and jurisprudence, Santiago's death prior to his final conviction by the Court should have resulted in the dismissal of the criminal case against him. Article 89 (1) of the Revised Penal Code provides that criminal liability is totally extinguished by the death of the accused, to wit:

Article 89. How criminal liability is totally extinguished. - Criminal liability is totally extinguished: 1. By the death of the convict, as to the personal penalties; and as to pecuniary penalties, liability therefor is extinguished only when the death of the offender occurs before final judgment;

1. Death of the accused pending appeal of his conviction extinguishes his criminal liability[,] as well as the civil liability[,] based solely thereon. As opined by Justice Regalado, in this regard, "the death of the accused prior to final judgment terminates his criminal liability and only the civil liability directly arising from and based solely on the offense committed, i.e., civil liability ex delicto in senso strictiore."

2. Corollarily, the claim for civil liability survives notwithstanding the death of accused, if the same may also be predicated on a source of obligation other than delict. Article 1157 of the Civil Code enumerates these other sources of obligation from which the civil liability may arise as a result of the same act or omission: a) Law b) Contracts c) Quasi-contracts d) x x x e) Quasi-delicts

3. Where the civil liability survives, as explained in Number 2 above, an action for recovery therefor may be pursued but only by way of filing a separate civil action and subject to Section 1, Rule 111 of the 1985 Rules on Criminal Procedure as amended. This separate civil action may be enforced either against the executor/administrator or the estate of the accused, depending on the source of obligation upon which the same is based as explained above.

4. Finally, the private offended party need not fear a forfeiture of his right to file this separate civil action by prescription, in cases where during the prosecution of the criminal action and prior to its extinction, the private offended party instituted together therewith the civil action. In such case, the statute of limitations on the civil liability is deemed interrupted during the pendency of the criminal case, conformably with provisions of Article 1155 of the Civil Code, that should thereby avoid any apprehension on a possible privation of right by prescription.


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